Upcoming articles: ransomware backup and erasure encoding

For Computer Weekly, I am writing 2 feature articles for September 2020.

The first looks at backup techniques to counter ransomware. We are looking for best practice around securing original data, creating the optimal backup routines, configuring backup software, testing, and data restoration. The piece will also touch on the importance of offsite storage. The article will be technology neutral, and highlight best practice across all media (including cloud, disk, tape and optical.

The second article covers erasure encoding. The piece will consider why it is growing in importance, how it is used, and its pros and cons. Are there specific workloads, and storage types, best suited to erasure encoding?

Please send background information, including white papers, research or case studies, by Wednesday September 9th for backup techniques for ransomware and by Friday 11th September for erasure encoding.

As ever, contact me by email.

Upcoming article: why use tape storage today?

For Computer Weekly I am writing a feature on tape.

As a data storage medium, tape has been on the verge of obsolescence for decades. But the format endures. Why are IT and data managers continuing to choose tape?

The piece will look at:

  • The limitations and benefits of tape in today’s data centric environments
  • New and emerging tape formats and technology enhancements, such as software defined tape
  • How tape works with other storage media, including the cloud
  • Key use cases for the various tape technologies currently on the market.

The deadline to suggest interviewees or to share research is Wednesday, 5th August at 1700 BST. Initial submissions by email please.

Upcoming article: where next for the EU and cybersecurity?

This month, Germany took over the EU’s rotating presidency.

For the Daily Swig, this piece will investigate the German Presidency’s plans to improve the EU’s cybersecurity posture.

One of the Presidency’s six priorities is strengthening security and common values. For security, this is focused on better cross-border collaboration, inn crime and counter-terrorism.

For cyber specifically, the Presidency wants closer cooperation on network and information security, especially for critical national infrastructure and “other enterprises in the public interest”. And devices sold in the EU will need a minimum level of IT security.

How will the EU achieve these goals? And are these the right priorities right now? The feature will ask whether the EU’s objectives will mean greater security for citizens, and also assess its impact on the cyber security community, including business, security vendors, the workforce and academia and research.

I’m keen to speak to experts from across the cybersecurity space, especially those who have worked on EU initiatives. Please email

your suggestions for interviewees, or background information, by 1700 BST, Thursday 9th July.

Upcoming feature: Storage for AI, ML and analytics

For Computer Weekly my next feature will look at the specific demands placed on storage architecture by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics.

The piece will ask:

What different approaches to providing storage are there for these technologies? 

What limits, performance considerations and bottlenecks exist with the different approaches?

What ways of providing storage for analytics are we likely to see in future?

The article will cover both on-premises and cloud-based storage, where relevant. I’m keen to include some real-world use cases if possible.

I am open to comment from industry professionals, consultants, analysts and CIOs working with AI. ML and analytics.

Deadline for leads: 1700hrs BST, Tuesday 23 June. As ever, please email in the first instance.

Upcoming storage technology articles

I am researching two features for Computer Weekly, and am keen to have input from analysts and other industry experts.

The first is on file, block and object in the cloud and looks at the main storage offerings from AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform, including versions, performance, target applications and compatibility with on-premises storage.

The second looks at cloud providers on-site hardware offerings. Again, this is focused on AWS, Azure and GCP. Why are cloud providers offering on-site hardware, and what functions does it fulfil? Although some of these devices are multi-function, our focus is on their use for data storage.

The deadline for submissions is 1700 BST, Friday 15 May; please contact me by email if you can help.

Upcoming articles: Compliance and Object Storage

I am writing two articles for Computer Weekly’s storage section, one on storage and data compliance for the enterprise, and the other on the growing field of high-performance object storage.

Data compliance

This piece will look at the top 5 UK compliance concerns in 2020.

What are the five key laws/regulations that must be adhered to by UK organisations in 2020, including both current and upcoming legislation. For each we will look at the implications of the law/reg for storage, backup, and archiving.

This could, for example, include legal search and e-discovery, or the Right to be Forgotten under GDPR.

We will also look at how the cloud fits in.

High performance object storage

Object storage has been known as a good way of storing lots of unstructured data, but with less emphasis on performance.

But AI and analytics workloads are prompting storage architects to look at performance too. The feature will cover:

  • Where object storage is heading in performance terms and what’s driving it.
  • Which performance metrics matter
  • How have object storage vendors improved performance?
  • Who are the key object storage vendors that are tackling the challenge of better performance and what do they offer?

The deadline for leads for both articles is Friday 20th March, please contact me by email if you can help.
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Upcoming commission: the environmental impact of tech

I am writing the following piece for a corporate audience – it will appear on the customer portal of a UK-based banking group.

While Big Tech can demonstrate high-profile efforts to promote sustainability, the true cost of the tech sector to the planet is thought to rival the aviation industry’s carbon footprint. With data centres and AI innovation guzzling energy at the present rate, it’s estimated that powering internet technologies creates 2% of global emissions. How and where in its activities is the sector most energy-hungry, and what steps can be taken to reduce its carbon footprint? Who is innovating in this area and how can their efforts be emulated by smaller companies?

Although we’re highlighting the environmental impacts of the tech sector, the piece will be geared towards potential and actual solutions rather than too much finger-pointing. The focus is larger SMEs and smaller corporates.

The deadline for written comment is 1700 London time on Monday 16th March. However if you would like to set up an interview please contact me as soon as possible, by email.

Upcoming commission: computational storage

For Computer Weekly, I am investigating this emerging technology.

The piece will cover:

  • What is computational storage?
  • What is the architecture/key features of computational storage?
  • What use cases is it aimed at?
  • What are the pros and cons for those that might deploy it?
  • Who are the vendors and what products do they have?

I am looking for expert views – ideally independent — and real-world use cases or case studies. Deadline for leads: Wednesday 4th March, 1700 GMT. Drop me an emailif you can help.

Upcoming article: Flash storage tiers

For Computer Weekly, I am writing a short piece looking at the various tiers of solid-state storage.

What is on the market, how does each technology’s performance differ, and what are their applications? Why do businesses use tiered storage, and where does each solid state technology fit into tiering?

I will cover these storage types:

  • Optane/3D Xpoint/Z-NAND
  • NVMe
  • TLC Flash
  • QLC Flash

If you have market research or other information to share on these, the deadline to contact me — as ever by email — is 1700hrs, Friday 14th February.

Upcoming article: Latest government data breaches in 2019/2020

I am researching an analysis into security breaches in the public sector. We are looking especially at globally significant incidents.

In the piece, we will examine the trend – how did 2019 compare with 2017 and 2018?

Are there any notable changes in geography, or in the type of breach?

Which organisations are being attacked, and is that changing?

What size of incidents are we seeing? Are they larger, or having a greater impact?

The piece will then look at the cost of public sector data breaches, and their impact. And we will ask if there are specific steps public sector IT and security leads should be taking to protect their assets.

The piece will appear in The Daily Swig. This earlier piece in the series, on healthcare, is a guide for what we are looking for.

Submissions of content or suggestions for interviewees, by Thursday 6th February, by email in the first instance.